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So your name is John Lange, and in 1966 you publish your first book, Tarnsman of Gor, under the pseudonym "John Norman". That same year, 1966, another fellow, eleven years younger, and also from Chicago, Illinois, also publishes his first book, Odds On, using the pseudonym "John Lange". Coincidence, right? A year later, 1967, John Lange, a.k.a. John Norman, published his second book, Outlaw of Gor, and the other fellow, a.k.a, John Lange, publishes his second novel, Scratch One. Now it is becoming a little weird. In 1968, John Norman writes Priest-Kings of Gor, while John Lange writes A Case of Need. In 1969, Norman has Nomads of Gor, Lange has Zero Cool and The Venom Business, while in 1970, Norman has Assassin of Gor and Ghost Dance and Lange has Drug of Choice and Grave Descend. The year after, Norman has the place for himself with Raiders of Gor, but in 1972, when Norman does Captive of Gor, Lange does Binary. Something is surely rotten in the state of Denmark.

To be sure, the name of the fellow who used the John Lange pseudonym, was John Michael Crichton, who sadly died in Los Angeles on November 4, 2008.

Michael Crighton - click to enlarge While being borne in Chicago, Crighton was raised on Long Island, New York. As he recalled in a private letter, John Lange began teaching at Queens College, which is on the East side of Long Island, in August, 1964. At that time, Crighton was earning a B. A. in anthropology from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, so it seems unlikely that they ever met personally, but, Crighton went to highschool at Roslyn High School, at Roslyn Heights, on Long Island, is only a couple of miles, it seems, from Queens College, located in Kew Gardens Hills. Admittedly, tt has also been suggested, that, by the time Crighton started writing, he had become exceptionally tall. By his own account, he was approximately 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 m). In reference to his height, while in Harvard Medical School, he began using the pen name "John Lange", as "Lange" is a surname both in Dutch and German, which means "long".

In the Nucleus Magazine Interview by Mark Wheatley & Bill Cantey in 1970, John Norman made the confusion even worse:

Mark Wheatley: Jack, for some time now, there has been a rumor passing around to the effect that John Lange and Michael Crichton, author of the Andromeda Strain, Terminal Man, etc., are one and the same. I never really thought that much of it until I first noticed that it had been mentioned in Life Magazine. Years ago, I had noticed a story in a men's adventure type publication by a Jack Lange. I had meant to ask you about it at the time, but it slipped my mind. Both of these things were brought to mind recently when I saw a new paperback on the stands. It was billed as follows: "One Of The Best Since The Andromeda Strain And Terminal Man; Binary." After that lead-in, you'd expect the book to be by Michael Crichton, right? No, by Jack Lange, it reads. So, could you clear this up?

Jack Lange: I can answer your question very clearly, and very publicly. I am not now, and never have been, and do not expect ever to be Michael Crichton.

This mistaken identification, incidentally, has been made several times before. I expect the original source of the confusion is that Michael Crichton, for some detective novels, Odds On, Scratch One, etc., selected, doubtless by sheer, if fantastic coincidence, the pseudonym 'John Lange', which is my name. In fact, Crichton's Odds On came out in paperback in December 66, the same month and year as Tarnsman of Gor came out in paperback, under my pseudonym of 'John Norman', but copyrighted in my own name, 'John Lange'. It would have been delightful if the real name of Odd's On's author might have been John Norman, but no such luck.

The plot, of course, is thick.

For example, someone name John Lange has published a book entitled Drug of Choice. That is not my book. Whether it is Michael Crichton's I do not know. Similarly, I do not know if the story you saw in a Man's Adventure type fiction mag by a guy named Jack Lange was by Michael Crichton or not. I just do not know. It was not by me however. That I know.

It could be that, because of the confusion, Crichton has started to use 'Jack Lange' as a pseudonym, instead of 'John Lange'. The library of Congress, incidentally, made a misidentification of Crichton and Lange, also, with consequent carnage of the truth wrought perhaps globally, threatening the integrity of the library systems of Earth. They have, however, I gather, corrected their mistake, and new computer cards have rushed forth to rectify the situation.

I do not know if there are three of us, or only two of us. There are, however, at least two of us. I do not know if Crichton has switched to 'Jack Lange' or if there is another fellow by that name, writing, too. Fortunately, perhaps, I do not publish under the name 'Jack Lange'. On the other hand, that is what my friends and those who generally know me, call me. It is what I think of as my informal name. Usually only strangers, or business acquaintances, would call me 'John'. I would have no objection if Crichton would switch to Gregory Q. Witherspoon. Then we might both have less trouble.

As far as I know, Michael Crichton never used the Jack Lange pseudonym, and I can't find any known author by that name, either, that would explain the confusion.

In any case, here's a short overview of the John Lange books, written by Michael Crichton.

TopOdds On

Odds On - 1966 - click to enlarge Odds On is Michael Crichton's first published novel, published in December, 1966 by Signet Books. It is a short novel, only 215 pages, 4 pages shorter than Tarnsman of Gor, and it describes an attempt of a robbery in an isolated hotel on the island of Costa Brava. This robbery is scheduled and planned with the help of a computer running a so-called Critical Path Analysis program, but, of course. unforeseen events get in the way. The timespan of the story is just a little more than a week, from Saturday, June Fourteenth, to Afternoon, June Twenty- Second and all the chapters are named by date as in a diary. Note that John Norman mostly uses the same diary technique, naming his chapters by important events ("I enter the pit", "What happened in the pit", "I exit the pit").

To be sure, about a third of the book is soft core sex. As the inside front cover states:

The Americans needed a cover.

Lone men were too conspicuous. So they decided each would pick up a girl and mingle with the crowd.

There was Jenny, a rich wench who wanted to be loved for her body alone. Cynthia, a talented nympho who liked marijuana and men -- and took them together. Annette, a working girl whose best jobs came after hours.

For the three Americans these females were extracurricular. The real interest was the hotel haul that would net them a million dollars in jewels, cash, and travelerÆs checks. It was a brilliantly conceived crime, masterminded by a modern computer. But when they fed the data into the machine that would tell them what to do and when to do it, they forgot the biggest risk of all. The women.

TopScratch One

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TopEasy Go (also known as The Last Tomb)

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TopThe Venom Business

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TopDrug of Choice

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TopGrave Descend

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